As CEO and founder of a thriving multi-unit medical dermatology practice, Florida’s Dr. Tim Ioannides combines his professional passion for helping individuals affected by various skin related concerns, along with his business intuition, and penchant for unparallelled customer service, creating a unique balance between practitioner, entrepreneur, and community leader. Dedicated to educating the local community regarding proactive dermatological practices, Tim Ioannides parlays his passion for medical dermatology in a meaningful way, developing the long-term relationships needed to care for patients throughout various stages of their lifetime. Serving the Martin, Port St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties of Florida, Dr. Ioannides continues to spearhead the growth and development of Treasure Coast Dermatology.
Throughout his university studies, Dr. Ioannides completed a rigorous internship program at the University of Florida School of Medicine’s Health Science Center. After graduating from the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, garnering his medical degree, Dr. Ioannides completed his residency program at the University of Miami School of Medicine in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Upon the completion of his formal education, Dr. Ioannides became a member of various local, national, and international organizations related to the field of medical dermatology. He holds board certification from the American Board of Dermatology, and well as a membership to the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the specialized American Society for Mohs Surgery. With a passion to shape the minds of future generations of medical dermatology professionals, Dr. Ioannides shares wisdoms as a Voluntary Associate Professor at his alma mater, the University of Miami School of Medicine.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Upon the completion of my extensive formal education, I joined the workforce via an already established dermatological practice. Within the particular practice, as with many dermatological practices, great attention was paid to cosmetically based procedures, which accounted for a majority of all services rendered. For many practices, the implementation of cosmetically driven procedures assists greatly with operational costs. However, on a long-term basis, I recognized that these procedures did not align with my particular passions for medically driven dermatology. More than anything, I wanted to educate individuals in regard to skin care safety, provide medical care to individuals experiencing a myriad of skin related diseases and concerns, and make a difference in the quality of life for people on a long-term basis.
While I was extremely grateful for my initial position, and learned insurmountable skills that I carried with me into future ventures, I recognized my drive to open my own practice, driven solely by medical dermatology. In the fledgling phases of Treasure Coast Dermatology, I did have to rely on the stability and growth provided via the offering of cosmetic procedures, but with an aggressive plan, I was able to swiftly phase out all cosmetic procedures, and focus on my passion for providing medically driven dermatological services.
From there, I focused on developing proactive and long-term relationships with clients, many of whom I see regularly throughout various stages of their lives. In developing a strong leadership team, I was able to branch into multiple service locations, without sacrificing the customer service aspects that inspired me to open Treasure Coast Dermatology in the first place.
How do you make money?
As with all medical professionals, I make money based on a salary, in exchange for providing medical care for patients, in my particular field of study. As an entrepreneur, small business owner, and CEO, I will always put the needs of the business first, ensuring that all operational needs are met prior to this point. Treasure Coast Dermatology makes money through providing out-of-pocket patient care that is billed directly, or by garnering payment from insurance companies for services rendered.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Within the fledgling stages of Treasure Coast Dermatology, I tried to remain very realistic in regard to operational costs. For this reason, I made the choice to supplement billable services with cosmetically driven procedures throughout the initial stages of business operations. With very specifically drawn out goals, deadlines, and goals, I was able to eliminate these services swiftly, and maintain profitable operations rather quickly. By developing a strong support team from the very beginning, and creating the type of atmosphere that is conducive to building positive client relationships, we were able to garner loyalty from patients very early on, aiding in the continued growth of the practice.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
In the medical field, there is very little chance of an individual ending up in a highly skilled position by chance. Due to the strenuous nature of the education required to practice within any medical domain, one must be certain of one’s professional passions, and quite actively pursue gaining entry into this field. Thus, after successfully completing my formal education, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to fully pursue medical dermatology head on.
When I made the choice to develop my own practice, though, I did have inklings of fear that crept in my mind from time to time. After all, even though I have completed multiple years of concise schooling, and garnered pertinent experience within a dermatological practice setting, setting out on my own did feel daunting throughout the initial stages of business ownership. Before making the leap, I tried to quelch my nerves by reminding myself of the reasoning behind my decision to make this leap. Each time that I questioned my reasoning, I recalled my motivations, and desire to help individuals lead healthy lives, educate the public about skin-care related issues, and provide specialized medical care for various skin-related concerns. With the continued rise of the skin cancer epidemic within this country, I recognized the importance of this work, which allowed me to move forward with plans for opening my own practice, and subsequently, growing the practice.
How did you get your first customer?
As I have already been actively treating patients within my first post-matriculation position, I retained their services upon opening Treasure Coast Dermatology. From there, word of mouth grew the initial sphere of clients, and my presence within the local communities parlayed into new patients joining the practice.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Though word of mouth, and the sharing of positive experiences, is truly the best marketing strategy, I believe that customer service, and being open and available to potential patients comes closely in second place. This is a somewhat comprehensive notion, as there are many various aspects related to “customer service” that create a patient’s perception of care, a practice’s reputation, and the ongoing ability to capture new patient attention.
At Treasure Coast Dermatology, I wholly stand by our decision to avoid the utilization of computers throughout the patient visit. Within today’s modern society, patients often can find themselves speaking to a physician about their most intimate, intimidating, and maybe even embarrassing concerns, only to feel unheard, ignored, and otherwise undervalued as a direct result of the clinical staff typing away for the entire duration of the appointment. Thus, in an effort to broach the level of comfort and confidence needed to openly discuss the most important medical concerns, we do not utilize computers throughout a visit, focusing solely on the medical attention needed at present, and engaging clients in a face-to-face interaction that instills their confidence in our team. Conversely, our team transcribes notes after the completion of appointments, which renders them still seamlessly streamlined, and able to maintain the flow of the day. I’ve found that this makes a huge positive difference in patient perception, which goes a long way in terms of marketing.
At Treasure Coast Dermatology, we also utilize proactive education to instill confidence in all patients. Since prevention education is paramount in avoiding various skin related concerns, or identifying and treating them early, being aware of symptoms is the first step to being in control of one’s care. Thus, instead of merely providing medical care for already existing conditions, we dedicate time, resources, and energy to educating patients in a way that leaves them confident, and in control of their skin care.
Finally, I truly believe that our atmosphere speaks for itself, and lends a helping hand in developing, and maintaining, a vastly prominent reputation. Regularly, we conduct patient satisfaction surveys, and even more regularly, we speak with patients about ways in which we can improve the overall experience. From simply switching the television programming available in the waiting rooms, to more complex items, like offering new and noteworthy medical solutions, we take great strides to constantly be moving forward, providing a welcoming, proactive, capable, and patient-first atmosphere.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Though it hasn’t been recent, I’ve had to learn to manage staff on a macro-level, recognizing the importance of considering the team as a whole, rather than always focusing on an individual level. Namely, I’ve had to reconcile letting go of staff that engaged in behavior that was detrimental to the team morality, even though the individual staff member may have been performing individual tasks at a satisfactory level. Interoffice conflict is very detrimental in this type of environment, where multiple professionals must work very closely in order to facilitate daily operations. Thus, when issues arise, it is important to consider ways in which the entire team suffers, or flourishes. Additionally, in any medical setting, it is crucial to remember that peoples’ lives are at risk, and patient health is always the priority. If, at any point, this does not reign supreme, it must be swiftly handled to regain focus on the bigger picture.
I’ve certainly gotten better at recognizing the need to not be too lenient, and am very happy to be surrounded by a competent, wonderful team overall. Together, our team works efficiently, skillfully, and maintains the patient-first approach at all times.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Though it is difficult to pinpoint one exact skill that parlays into a successful practice, I can certainly attest to not only my personal work ethic, but the work ethic of my entire team. First, unlike many peers within the field of dermatology, I see every single patient personally, and do not utilize support staff to fill in for me throughout patient appointments. The entire staff ensures that all patient needs are consistently met, and that each patient feels empowered by their visit. Often, simple things, such as personal reminders for upcoming appointments allow patients to feel valued within our practice. I believe that these thoughtful moments foster the feeling of family within our practice, and aide in our continuous successes.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I am personally satisfied each time that I successfully remove skin cancer from a patient’s body, and educate each patient on ways to prevent skin cancer, identify questionable moles, and relay the importance of preventative care. Skin cancer continues to be an epidemic in this country, and a large part of this continues to be our lack of generalized information available to the public. In Australia, specifically, though the incidence of skin cancer has diminished, the mortality rate due to skin cancer has tremendously dropped since the implementation of a national education campaign. Though on a much smaller scale, I believe that an education-based campaign at Treasure Coast Dermatology can truly change the course of lives for many patients. I am truly proud to be a part of a positive change for patients, and am grateful to be able to empower patients to take care of their skin.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Technology changes the medical field on a daily basis, which continues to be absolutely enthralling within the niche field of medical dermatology. A few years ago, I was fortunate to conduct research that was utilized in the experimental phases of the skin cancer vaccine. To date, this is absolutely the biggest medical advancement in the field of dermatology. From here, the possibilities, in terms of vaccination and disease prevention, are absolutely endless. Within the previous few years, many advancements in the realm of technology have previously incurable diseases now easily treated. Within my lifetime, I would love to see pain-free treatment for skin cancer, and the eradication of conditions like psoriasis, and eczema.
For Treasure Coast Dermatology, specifically, I plan on expanding the practice into other local neighborhoods, focusing on providing the same excellent treatment, and developing long-term relationships with patients.
What business books have inspired you?
Though not technically a business book, “How To Win Friends And Influence People” has been one of the most profound books that I have read for over 25 years, and continues to be my recommendation for anyone interested in succeeding within the professional world, and understanding the magnitude of the way in which interpersonal relationships dictate business success. Within the book, there is a great focus on the ability to witness the world from the perspective of others. In turn, this ability culminates in being able to interact with people in a much more sympathetic manner, and understand the notion that everyone is trying the best they can, within their unique situation.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
As previously mentioned, I do not utilize computers throughout the duration of a patient visit. Thus, I transcribe patient notes upon the completion of a visit, and this process has been greatly streamlined through my purchase of a smartphone!
How important is corporate culture in the realm of a medical practice?
Much like in a corporate office setting, or a legal firm, culture plays an integral role in the patient perception of a medical practice, and in the experiences of the staff employed within that practice. For this reason, I have dedicated vast resources, time, and consideration to building a team that I am vastly confident in, and creating an atmosphere that is thriving, enjoyable, and positive for all employees. For this reason, amongst many others, I also do not engage with interaction with drug representatives. Obviously, the main motivation for a drug representative, at the end of the day, is to sell a specific product. Thus, with such a skewed perspective based on monetary gains, it makes it impossible to interact with drug representatives in an honest fashion, one that is not met with any ulterior motive. In fact, if I ever even interact with drug representatives via attending an educational seminar that is sponsored by a medical company, I make it a point to immediately donate $150, at a minimum, to a local no-kill animal shelter, in a karmic act of paying it forward